I get angry when people say to me, l knew your Father or l know your Dad … because l think, no you fucking don’t, l know my ‘dad’, l know my Father. You know a man who is a …
……………. you most assuredly do not know my Father! You know a ‘person’, who just pretends to be my father.
In recent weeks for what ever reason, l have had nightmares on a continuous nightly basis, by whatever reason – l mean, whether they be induced by the tablets l was having, or the pain that the tablets were leaving me with or the recent stress and upheaval with my Father’s current plight l don’t know – or perhaps a combination of everything.
Thinking on it, l would say that considering l was experiencing the nightmares prior to the tablets arrival in June, that the truth is that it has been the stress my Father is causing me and more so in recent weeks. The nightmares are of old horrors, memories that at canny times choose to attack my slumbering brain, which is marginally better than when l used to experience them living the same nightmares when awake.
Last Saturday l travelled with Suze up to see my ‘dying’ Father and it fast turned out to be a huge regret on my part, and something l will not repeat eagerly. Suze and l decided following that visit that it was quite possibly one of the vilest excursions to see him. It left us both drained.
On the journey up there l noted down various things that were bothering me with the premise of perhaps making them into a poem, but have since decided against it…
…. on the verge of tears with anxiety,
Tablets not cutting the pain,
Music in the car a latin number on a beautiful sunny day,
Pain with every twist of the car,
… emotions aplenty, none good,
Anger within, the beast rising with every beat of my heart,
Must stay calm, stay calm,
Why are we doing this, why, is he he really worth it, is he going to appreciate it?
It’s all about him, atypically when has it not been? Me, me, me …
Memories of the years float back on the winds of the tears,
Not the way l wish to spend my day, our day!
There are better things to be doing on a day like today!
These are NOT the thoughts a Son should be having of his dying Father?
Yesterday, l had more stress, in addition to everything else going on … l had to once more spend two hours on the phone sorting my Father’s problems out. The previous days two hours l thought had gone well, but alas, they didn’t as l found out on Wednesday.
I had spent the previous day’s time speaking to NHS Continuous care unit based in Epsom, as well as a private care company sourced out by the NHS to tackle the task of furnishing my Father with a live in carer to take care of his medical needs in so far as a hospice type of treatment. i didn’t like doing it, but l did it. They asked me for a break down of my Father’s behavioural style – what was he like as a man?
I answered honestly, not spitefully, but honestly. … that my Father although lived like he was living 100 years ago, was not a traditionalist or particularly old fashioned as some are known to be but was a person that could be tricky, awkward and whilst on the outside he would look like he was a gentleman – the truth was he was a chameleon, he would adapt and change to suit the environment he was in or you were in. He would fool you into believing you were a friend, but the moment your guard was down or he noticed a chink in your amour, he would tear you to shreds. It mattered not to him if you were friend, foe or family, he saw no distinctive lines, you were simply fair game.
That under the guise of the chameleon, he would show YOU the person you wanted him to be, but those who truly knew him, and saw behind the facade of the masks, knew how cruel he could be.
That he was a sexist, a chauvinist, a homophobe, a racist, a bigot, a narcissist, a liar, dishonest, selfish, mean, arrogant, rude, ignorant, a bully, a hypocrit, greedy, a mental manipulator and was prone to violence especially more so now that his physical health was being sapped, and so he was becoming hurtful, judgemental, spiteful and vile. I continued and these for whatever they are worth to you, are just some of the points, but l say this to you as his Son, who knows his Father, inside out …. sadly. But many outsiders wouldn’t know that of him, because he was a very clever chameleon when it came to outside observers.
I advised them further, that the carer who would have to go in on a live-in basis, had to be tough and have a thicker skin. That my Father was a man who knew himself to be dying but was in denial and aggressive with it, that he displayed no loyalty to anyone except himself. However that his friends who can see nothing but a man who is frail and dying, weak and vulnerable will not only side with him, but he will side with them if it means he will get to a better point. That on this level he could not be trusted.
That the carer would have to understand these things about him, and above everything be wary.
I said that he was my Father and l did not like him, but l didn’t wish for him to have a miserable life, but l did not wish to hear of carers put into danger by him or his friends and l felt that the service provider had the right to know everything.
Previous carers to him, have been reduced to a mess by both him and his friends.
That in plain and simple words he was awkward and horribly forgetful. But l also stressed that he was 100% anti-live-in carer and that if they were to ensure this went smoothly from day one they were NOT to fuck up in any way shape or form. I also ensured that they knew that his neighbour friends were not just friendly, but overly protective to the point of confrontational.
Now if someone had told me all that and especially family, l wouldn’t judge until l experienced for myself but l would tread very carefully. Wouldn’t you?
The live – in carer was supposed to start yesterday at midday. The current carers were supposed to award the hand over to the new carer. Which did occur of sorts – it is the of sorts bit that went haywire!
Yesterday morning l rang my Father ay 9.01am, to see how his ‘new’ phone was and we spoke for 2 minutes in which time l told him about the care package arriving at midday, to discover that he didn’t know [truth is he had forgotten from the previous day].
At 9.48 am, l had a call from my Father telling me about his new phone and awarding me the telephone number, which l informed, that l knew of this when l had rung him earler, realising to myself that his memory was considerably worse than even Saturday just gone. He made no mention to anything else.
At 10.04 am, l had another more aggressive call this time egged on by the confrontational twit in the background, telling me that he was lying in his own soilings and that there were no carers in place, WTF was going on? Which admittedly was a good question considering the NHS had rung me the previous day to tell me that they had initialised this whole concept, so one would expect it to be correct!
However, annoyingly my Father doesn’t have to soil himself, he can use the tools at his disposal, but refuses to use them on the grounds that they are humiliating – like deliberately allowing yourself to be soiled isn’t? But more importantly in his own words, “That is my carers job, as it is a woman’s job to look after a man” it’s that line that just sums up who he is in my mind, that just speaks volumes to me.
From 10.05am – 11.03am l had been on the phone to the two organisations in question, trying to find out what the hell had gone wrong? It turned out that it was the previous carer’s blunder combined with the NHS not taking the situation firmly into their control. That due to my call, the carer was going to be there earlier than planned. They told me at the same time that one operator was speaking to me, that another was on the phone talking with my Father and another was talking to my Sister. That they found my Father very polite and understanding and cordial.
By 11.07 it was all sorted. The NHS had admitted they had made a mistake, they had spoken to my Father and apologised for their blunder – he then rang me, not knowing l had spoken to the people and got it sorted for him and said “Rory, this is all your fuck up!”
That’s my Father – right there.
Just got off the phone to him, he is still blaming me for my fuck up yesterday – our call was 94 seconds.
That’s my Father! I am worth 94 seconds of his time.
So when people say to me “Oh l know your Father, such a nice man, or l know your Dad.” I think , no you don’t, you don’t know him at all.